Monday, 2 December 2013

Evil Dead (2013)

A reboot of the very original Evil Dead film which was rebooted once already with 'Evil Dead II', so this is the second reboot. Major changes are afoot this time round as the comedy is out, kicked to the curb, Bruce Campbell's 'Ash' is also out, Raimi is replaced and of course the plot has been tinkered with slightly.

Apart from a few changes here and there the plot is basically the same. Group of young adults stay in a broken down old cabin in the depth of some creepy woods. One accidentally unleashes the evil demons that dwell within the woods and they are drawn into a bloody game of staying alive. Question is which character will be the new hero? or will there be one at all?.

So the big change here is of course the direction for the film as a whole, no more daft effects, no more goofy moments of schlock, no more slapstick...its all very serious. Does this change please a fan like me? well yes and no. I adored the comedy aspect of the original errr...sequels, horror comedy is a fantastic genre that seems to work so well. When I found out this aspect would be taken away I was disappointed and worried, Evil Dead is horror comedy much like 'An American Werewolf in London'. I won't beat around the bush, this film does work in a serious manner, and I was surprised truth be told. That said I'm not sure I liked it outright.

Thing is why do this? the original films are classic and I'm sure another sequel would have been terrific and much anticipated. Now we know they are doing 'Army of Darkness 2' (aka Evil Dead 4) so again I must ask, why do this?. The serious switch does work but it does come across as unoriginal in terms of visuals...and yes I know you must expect that with a remake. What I mean is the glossy, slick, shiny, sharp visuals just don't fit this franchise in my view. The gore effects are excellent and do enhance the film no doubt but it just looked like many other previous big name reboots (you know the ones). That is what set the franchise apart, the shoddy tacky visuals, without them it loses its appeal somewhat and just falls in line with every other gore/torture porn horror flick.

A good example would be at the start when the group enters the cabin and discovers the basement full of hanging dead animals. This whole intro sequence just felt like a complete rip off from various films like 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre', the sequence just made me think I've seen this before, I've been here before, why is this in here?.

I know this debate is kinda old now but it is an important issue as a fan and I just can't ignore it. So yes the serious real horror approach is solid, but its not Evil Dead for me, it didn't feel right. On the whole the film does look good and it is recognisable, as said the gore effects are very good, but why lose that classic Raimi demonic look?. The new CGI (?) eyes on the possessed characters looked awful, like something outta 'Lord of the Rings', it wasn't anywhere near as eerie as the all white eyes previously.

I also thought there were a bit too many self mutilations going on, I don't think the possessed really needed to do that, it felt cheap, easy shock tactics. I much preferred the full mask type look in the previous films where characters tended to look more like mutant witches. There were some really nice moments of looming dread though, some moments where you really did wonder how on earth the living characters would get outta this pickle. Some of the undead attacks were nasty, the syringe attack was a particularly wincing little sequence as was the nail gun sequence. I gotta admit I was never really sure which of the characters (if any) would make it to the end and be our new Ash...or equivalent of sorts (although I did suspect a gender change naturally).

Some things didn't add up to me either. It is said you can free someone from possession by killing them, this tends to indicate that a dead body can't be possessed or simply isn't for whatever reason. Yet one dead character is possessed which felt like a contradiction. This leads me to the fact they bury one character 'alive' (or while possessed) to 'kill' her so the demon leaves her body. But these possessed bodies seem pretty invincible when a demon inhabits them, bullets, knives, boiling water etc...doesn't stop them, so why would simply burying them do it?. Lastly, the small sequence where the last male character has his little A-Team moment and builds a defibrillator from odd bits and bobs hanging around to revive a dead character. Yeah its possible I'm sure and he could have the medical knowledge but it just seemed a bit too far at the time. Of all the madness and gore splattering going on that was one moment that just felt too silly to me.

I can't leave it at that though, the ending was an anti climax in my opinion. I read about the chainsaw ending and how it was suppose to be an awesome rock show of body chopping and blood. So as we loomed up to it I was thinking lots of demons popping up for a good chainsaw battle, a huge alpha demon?, maybe going down the crazy ass classic route a bit just for the crossover The finale was average at best, the big 'Abomination' was a damp squib and was easily dispatched with the whirring chainsaw of death.

So its very 50/50 for me, I liked the new approach, it is a good film, but it just didn't really feel like Evil Dead to me. I knew what to expect and I knew there would be modern day cliches and idea ripping (as usual) and I got exactly that. A good horror film in its own right, one of the better remakes for sure, but its not The Evil Dead even though I knew it wasn't meant to be exactly the same, its still hard to accept it with the same title.

They don't half go overboard with the hand chopping though. I know its obviously a homage to the sequels but sheesh! take it easy guys, no need to cram the fact down our throats, we get it.

Stay to the very end of the credits for a kick ass surprise.